Observation - Essay Example

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Social norms basically are accepted behaviors that take place within a society or group. This term is more specifically defined as basic rules or guidelines that a social group observes which dictate what behavior, perceptions, attitudes, beliefs and values appropriate or inappropriate…
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Social norms basically are accepted behaviors that take place within a society or group. This term is more specifically defined as basic rules or guidelines that a social group observes which dictate what behavior, perceptions, attitudes, beliefs and values appropriate or inappropriate. Based on the different situation and groups these rules may be explicit or group. Another way to look at the concept of social norms is by describing them as customary rules of action that guide our interactions with others. It is important to note that these vary with the passage of time, social classes and social groups. An example of this can be that of acceptable ways of dressing in a society or group, speech patterns or behavior in a group which might be frowned upon by another. An example of a norm that I observed was when I recently visited my cousin’s workplace. It was a spacious building with several floors and large glass windows. Everyone was dressed formally as was required in a place of work. Everyone seemed busy or in a rush to get work done and even though I met a lot of people I knew no one really stopped by to have an actual conversation with me. It was a Tuesday, around mid day and I was supposed to wait for my cousin. The floor space was aligned with multiple cubicles and people were scattered everywhere on the floor; having discussions, sitting in groups, handing out files. A social norm that I observed there was the fact that no matter how busy or tired or stressed someone was they would normally snap at each other or be short tempered or bicker however they would always treat their bosses and managers differently and above everyone else even if they are normally the ones at fault. Furthermore I noticed that the employees had their own jargon which might’ve been facilitated their ability to communicate with each other but it was rather annoying when a group of people you are talking to use words which clearly make sense to them but leave you lost and confused. Some sociological concepts highlighted were those of discrimination in the way that employees would treat one of them differently from those in a position that was superior to theirs. The concept of a minority group and a dominant group was also evident in the way the supervisors were part of the minority that was in a position of power. This behavior might result into aspects of blocked opportunities for those employees who were not giving preferential treatment to their managers. Another norm that I have observed was when I went to this culture festival where people from different backgrounds were setting up various stalls. There were different kinds of clothes worn by all kinds of people. The aroma of food, some delicious some not so much was thick in the air. There were so many colors it was interesting to watch. It was then that it struck me when I saw women, some who were wearing a traditional dress that comprised of wearing a cloth that showed their stomach ( Indian sari) whereas there were other Asian women wearing scarves and covering themselves completely, as was a social norm in their country. This reflected the concept of cultural hegemony in the way that mostly individuals from the West seemed to form a more dominant part of the festival. Also cultural values were reflected as the diversification was evident in the way people were dressed differently, the way they talked and they way they conducted themselves. It also brought to attention the nature vs. nurture debate as I would wonder whether values that people displayed was a part of who they were or how they had been raised. Gender socialization was also evident in the way that most Asian women were more conservative when compared to Americans. A norm that I was able to break to some extend is that of conformity that is so evident in most peer relationships and dictated a great part of my teenage. However I was able to sidetrack all the pressure and come up with a solid reasoning to dominate my choices and not the opinion of others. This I had accomplished by focusing on prioritizing and seeking the advice of my parents and friends and then deciding for myself what seemed right. In teenagers it has an impact on the choices children make regardless of their individual desire to indulge in a certain activity or not. Conformity is the reason why most teenagers indulge in bad habits such as smoking, drugs, drinking etc. Social constructivism is an concept that is applicable when conformity is a dominant characteristic of a particular group; this is how a groups reality, knowledge and learning takes place. Group think is also another aspect that minimizes group conflict and room for disagreement however it may also result in tunnel vision and a lack of critical thinking. Read More
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